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Bairbre de Brún joins with other MEPs to halt liberalisation of port services

15 September, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún joined with a number of MEPs to reject the controversial Port Services Directive in the EU Employment and Social Affairs Committee this morning. The motion to reject the European Commission's proposal was put forward by Sinn Féin and others.

The Port Services Directive would open up ports to liberalisation.

Speaking from Brussels Ms de Brún said:

"The Employment and Social Affairs Committee of the European Parliament today voted in favour of a motion put forward by Sinn Fein and others to reject the Commission Proposal on Market Access to Port Services. I am pleased to have been involved in slowing down the passage of this directive, which must now be voted upon in the EP Transport Committee.

"Sinn Féin rejected this proposal for a number of reasons. Firstly, the directive is one of a number currently before the European Parliament which prioritises the right wing privatisation ideology that is currently predominant within the EU. One effect of this directive would be that that docking ships could bring in their own loaders, rather than use those currently available at existing ports.

"Not only would the proposal threaten the livelihoods of dock workers here in Ireland, but there is also concern regarding health and safety. If a shipping company so wanted, it could use workers to load and unload vessels, operate cranes and lifting machinery without having the necessary experience or qualifications. The proposal does not take into account other factors such as fatigue, whereby a drafted in dock worker could be expected to disembark from a long journey at sea, and then be expected to pilot lifting machinery at the dockside. Therefore, the docks would become an unregulated work space with the potential for serious health and safety breaches." ENDS

Note to Editor: The vote to reject was passed with 24 votes in favour, 11 against and 1 abstention. Bairbre de Brún was one of the 24 to vote to reject the European Commission proposal on foot of a motion from SF and others.

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